Kneaders Bakery and Café knows how to make a first impression.

The fast-casual restaurant chain known for European-style crusty breads and pastries will give free French toast to the first 100 customers at Friday’s grand opening celebration of its Ahwatukee location.

The new Kneaders, at 4730 E. Ray Road, will at open at 7 a.m.

Kneaders uses only the highest-quality ingredients to create freshly baked artisan breads, delicious sandwiches, homemade pastries, hearty soups and refreshing salads, according to its website, kneaders.com.

Breakfast offerings include sandwiches served on freshly-baked croissants, featuring eggs, cheese and a choice of meat; freshly made, chunky cinnamon French toast served with a caramel sauce; sourdough pancakes; fruit smoothies; cinnamon rolls; and raspberry and chocolate-filled croissants. Other pastries are also available.

Soups, sandwiches and deli salads are on the lunch and dinner menus. In addition to breakfast, lunch and dinner, Kneaders sells breads, rolls, and other baked goods to go.

The average check is $12.61, according to QSR Magazine, which profiled the franchise last year.

The Ahwatukee restaurant is Kneaders’ fifth in Arizona. There are two locations in Gilbert and two in Yuma. The second Gilbert location, in the San Tan Village, opened last month.

The franchise started in Utah in 1997.

“We are very excited to expand Kneaders’ footprint within the Phoenix market,” said Andrew Smith, Kneaders area developer. “Our goal is to provide an experience where the atmosphere is comfortable, the food is fresh, and customers feel cared for. The community really embraced us with our first two locations in Gilbert, and we’re looking forward to serving new customers in Ahwatukee.”

Josh Tycksen is the operating partner for the Ahwatukee location.

“We’ve had tremendous growth over the past couple years, and I attribute that to our amazing teams, dedication to using only the highest-quality ingredients, and consistently providing excellent customer service,” said James Worthington, Kneaders CEO. “I think Josh will do an excellent job at upholding our high standards at this new location. The wonderful people in the Phoenix area have treated us very well, and we are confident that the new Ahwatukee store will be a success.”

Kneaders’ regular business hours are from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday-Saturday, and it provides catering services.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-6549 or cgabel@ahwatukee.com.

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